Purpose – Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has received considerable research attention globally over the past decade. Although a growing number of prior studies have investigated the various dimensions of CSR in general terms, few studies have investigated the critical role that CSR can play in the internationalization process of firms. Design/methodology/approach – Using S&P 500 companies during 2004-2014, the authors found that the level of CSR commitment raises the level of reliability of firm and allows further international penetration. Moreover, better regulatory quality of host country is at actual support of internationalization only when considering the short term. Findings – Better regulatory quality of host country is at actual support of internationalization only when considering the short term.Originality/value – The authors build on internationalization theory and CSR and examine the relationship between firms’ level of internationalization and CSR commitment.